Our child care centre philosophy

We at Early Childhood on Stafford have developed a Philosophy that encompasses how we support, encourage and inspire our children and framed it using the letters of our name (ECOS).


E = Extend your superheroes in environments which excite and empower

We believe that our children are all ‘superheroes’ – in one way or another and that all have super talents that we want to unleash. The ‘excite’ and ‘empower’ statements come from our desire for our educational programme to be exciting and interesting and hence grabbing children’s interests. The “empower” is about all of us, and that by having a fun and “exciting” environment, we will grow learners – whether they be children or adults.


C = Creative minds who have the courage to think outside the ‘triangle’ as they are challenged to reach ‘infinity and beyond’

The ‘Creative minds’ reference comes from our love of the arts. By including this statement, we are saying loud and clear that creativity is important to us. We include ‘courage’ because a large part of our thoughts and actions are about helping our children to be resilient and to take risks to test what they can and cannot do. This takes courage – a ‘have a go’ attitude that we value immensely.

This is also where the reference to “infinity and beyond” sits, in which we are referring to potential. We don’t know what we can do until we try it and often that can lead to places, skills, behaviours and conceptual understandings that we never thought we could get to.

Not only do we value courage, but we also want people to think divergently and perhaps more profoundly, outside the triangle. We want to cultivate an environment of creative thinkers –both children and adults – and one example where you can see this in action is in the new statements; wildly divergent and creative but fun also.

O = Our outside is ‘O’ for awesome

The “O” is about where and how we have fun – yes, we value the outdoor environment and the unlimited use it has for teaching and learning. We don’t only mean our centre’s outside – but also the broader community in which we have regular excursions by both foot and van. We have borrowed from the “O for Awesome” quote, which was mistakenly used in a TV game show quiz (O = orsome) because we believe our outdoors are just that – awesome!


S = Stafford Street knows how to party as it celebrates its community and cultural connections

Our reference to the letter “s” is around our celebrations of celebrations – birthday parties, social events, and community events like Matariki, Easter, Christmas, Polyfest, St Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year. Families of many cultures also enrich us, and this adds to the collective talent pool of ECOS.

Imbuing lifelong citizen skills and a passion for learning are our mission

It is through this philosophy that we have arrived at our mission statement:

To co-pilot citizens as they embark on a learning journey that will sustain them for life.

It is our mission to support children (and adults) to become good citizens, in partnership with others. As a centre and as individuals, we acknowledge the roles of others in helping support the growth of our children and adults.

The work we do here is linked strongly to the creation of others, and together with support, citizens will grow. Good citizen skills will be lifelong, as will be the passion for learning.

To see first-hand how this philosophy is upheld, book a tour of our child care centre.

Play and learn: an active, integrated approach

Physical activity plays an essential role in brain development and emotional wellbeing; therefore, children who prefer the outdoor curriculum should have as equal access to this as those who prefer indoors. Learning to us is best achieved through an active, integrated approach, and the outdoors provides a natural classroom for this.

At Early Childhood on Stafford, we place as much emphasis on our outdoor programme as we do on our indoor programme, and we believe that physical competency is vital to children’s overall development. We feel very strongly in the importance of risk-taking and the developing of resilience, and the outdoor environment is the best place for that.


As a result, we have very confident and competent children at this centre. We believe that our focus on outdoor, physical play, encouraging risk-taking and developing resilient learners is a large contributor to this.

Ministry of Education NZ and Te Whariki for early childhood educators

The Ministry of Education NZ’s Te Whāriki sets out the curriculum to be used in New Zealand early learning settings and provides guidance for its implementation. It links with the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA) so that children are better supported as they transition from one learning environment to another.

Te Whāriki means ‘the woven mat’. Your child’s strengths and interests, all the things they learn from their family and through our early childhood education curriculum, are woven together into a learning programme for your child, contributing to your child’s unique learning story.

There are five learning strands which form the basis of our ECE curriculum:

  • Manaatua – wellbeing
  • Manatangata – contribution
  • Mana whenua – belonging
  • Mana reo – communication
  • Manaaotūroa – exploration

These are interwoven with the 4 broad principles of Te Whāriki:
Empowerment – children will be empowered to learn and grow.
Holistic development – children learn and grow in a holistic way. Their intellectual, social, cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual learning is interwoven across all their experiences.
Family, whānau and community – a child’s family, whānau and community are recognised as part of the learning experience.
Relationships – children learn through positive relationships with people, places and things.